Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) chairman and resident representative Silvestre Bello III on Saturday allayed concerns about the safety of Filipinos in Taiwan amid brewing tensions with mainland China.
Bello said the Philippine government, through MECO, was looking after the welfare and well-being of the Filipino expatriates in Taiwan.
“So we would like to assure you, everyone. I’ll take this opportunity to inform you… in Taiwan everything is normal and, if in the remote possibility na magkaroon ng emergency situation, for example
earthquake, mga lindol o even war, preparado po ang Taiwan government not only in protecting their own people but even the Filipinos, especially our workers,” Bello said in a media forum in Quezon City.
According to Bello, the National Police Agency of Taiwan has assured him of the protection and security of the Filipinos in the island nation.
“I met with the Director General together with the head of the Home Civilian Defense of Taiwan and they assured us na iyong ating mga kababayan ay protektado nila,” Bello said.
Quoting Taiwanese security officials, Bello said there were 89,000 shelters that can accommodate more than the total population of Taiwan.
“Ganoon kapreparado iyong ating mga kasama sa Taiwan and they really treasure our OFWs kasi sila, according to them, are the best in their manufacturing industry,” he said.
Bello also noted that 90 percent of the factories in Taiwan have Filipino workers.
He said roughly 160,000 OFWs are in factories and all the rest are highly skilled teachers, farmers, and workers in the hospitality industry.
“So, huwag po kayong mag-alala… everything is normal, our OFWs there are safe and there is no danger of what you call confrontation between China and Taiwan,” he said.
Last week, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. raised the need to continue “developing cooperation” on an “international scale” to resolve heightening tensions in Taiwan.
In his post-visit report before leaving Washington D.C., the President said there was a need to “fix the arrangements, our alliances, so that they conform to the needs of the day. And that again, comes back again to that process of evolution.”
The Chief Executive reiterated the administration’s foreign policy that “the Philippines shall continue to be a friend to all, and an enemy of none.”
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) last month said no Filipino in Taiwan is seeking government help for repatriation as of yet amid the current cross-strait tensions.
The DFA also reassured the public that contingency plans have been in place in areas where there is a high concentration of Filipino workers, including Taiwan.
MECO is the duly designated instrumentality to promote and protect Philippine interests in Taiwan and is authorized and conferred with authority to perform functions usually carried out by Philippine foreign missions but of a non-political, non-security in nature.